Suppose you represent a geographically disbursed organization with units, centers or key individuals spread out all over the world or across a large region. Think in terms of multinational corporations with offices in five or six countries; or, the US military with outposts in every corner of Afghanistan; or, an international environmental NGO with branches in various parts of the globe. For these organizations to be able to negotiate effectively, their people need to be able to put their hands on information in a timely way, get reactions from other parts of the organization to proposals raised during negotiations, and find out all that they can about how the organization has handled similar negotiations in the past.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Organizational for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is trying to hold multinational corporations to appropriately high standards of corporate social responsibility. OECD member states include thirty of the major economies of the world. Ten years ago, they adopted guidelines regarding human rights, environmental protection, the rights of workers and child protection. Now they are in the throes of a ten year review. Every member country has appointed an NCP -- a National Contact Point -- to investigate claims that multinational corporations headquartered in their country, or their subsidiaries wherever they might be located, have violated the guidelines. The NCPs have investigated as best they can (often with very limited staff and budget). The assumption is that being called out by a national government will push multinationals to correct whatever guideline infractions they or their subsidiaries may have committed. Unfortunately, it has been hard for the NCPs to complete many of the needed investigations, particularly those filed by unions or NGOs in far off corners of the world. On some occasions, NCPs have not found sufficient evidence that the guidelines have been violated, but there are clearly circumstances that needed attention. At a recent meeting of all the NCPs and some of their constituent organizations (including their Trade Union Advisory Group, their Business and Industry Advisory Group, and OECDWatch) the NCPs were reminded that their goal should be to rectify inappropriate practices, not just determine whether the guidelines have been violated. More generally, the NCPs were urged to step back from their adjudicatory (or investigatory) efforts and build their problem-solving capabilities. In particular, they were urged to take their mediation mandate seriously.